Resurgent Punjab aim to spoil Delhi's chances

Laggards Kings XI Punjab will continue their quest to salvage some pride and make life difficult for second-placed Delhi when they clash on Sunday.

updated: April 11, 2010 12:43 IST
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New Delhi:

Laggards Kings XI Punjab will continue their quest to salvage some pride and make life difficult for second-placed Delhi Daredevils when they clash in their return match of the Indian Premier League in New Delhi on Sunday.

On a roll with four straight wins, Delhi were brought to earth by the Kolkata Knight Riders in their last match and Gautam Gambhir's men have to make sure that there are no more hiccups from here on or else there semifinal hopes might be in jeopardy.

The last time these two teams clashed, Gambhir had smashed a 54-ball 72 to help Delhi beat Punjab by five wickets but things might be a little difficult this time considering, Punjab have already derailed Mumbai's campaign on Friday.

With semifinal hopes dashed and nothing at stake, Punjab will be doubly lethal and they would be look to win the rest of their matches to restore some pride.

Punjab's campaign has been plagued by inconsistency and controversies, especially involving explosive batsman and former skipper Yuvraj Singh.

The stylish left-hander has been in pathetic form and even though he has got starts, he has not been able to convert them. Considering the Twenty20 world cup is round the corner, Yuvraj will look to strike form.

Among their other batters, Sri Lankan duo of Mahela Jayawardene and skipper Kumar Sangakkara could not make much of an impression in at least the first half of the event.

However, Sangakkara's match-winning 56 against Mumbai last night must have given him some confidence and the left-hander will look to use that when he captains his side on Sunday.

Punjab, who have won just three matches against Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders and table-toppers Mumbai Indians, Irfan Pathan and Piyush Chawla have been the highest wicket-takers.

Back from injury, Australia's Brett Lee has so far failed to make an impact, while S Sreesanth has been making news more for his temperamental behaviour then his bowling.

In contrast, Delhi boasts of a formidable batting. With David Warner and Virender Sehwag opening and Gambhir coming next, they have the right mix of aggression and caution.

Among the bowlers, spinner Amit Mishra has been their wrecker-in-chief with 14 wickets so far, while Farveez Maharoof who has played just six matches, has supported him nicely scalping eight wickets.

Ashish Nehra, who has recovered from a rib injury, is also expected to play and swell Delhi's pace attack.